STAMFORD — Hard work has resulted in a just reward for Iyanna Lops.
The Trinity Catholic High School senior has seen her hoops and college dreams come true as she has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and play basketball at Division I Cal-State University at Bakersfield.
“The Cal-Bakersfield coaching staff was the first school to contact me and they stayed in touch with me throughout the recruiting process,” Lops said. “Going to school far away from Connecticut wasn’t an issue. Cal-Bakersfield was the best fit and the best place for my future.”
Cal-Bakersfield coach Greg McCall is in his eighth season in charge of the Runners’ women’s basketball program. They will graduate six seniors or redshirt seniors after the 2018-19 season.
McCall’s daughter Erica played in an NCAA Final Four at Stanford University. She is a current member of the Indiana Fever of the WNBA.
“It is a great opportunity for Iyanna,” Trinity Catholic High School girls basketball coach Mike Martino said. “She has worked so hard. And she wants to continue to grow as a basketball player.”
The 6-foot-2 Lops has the versatility to score both in the post and with perimeter jumpers.
Another major factor in her development on the basketball court has been her summer play with an AAU Elite team run by former Hillhouse High School, West Virginia University, WNBA Atlanta Dream and Connecticut Sun standout Bria Holmes.
“Playing summer AAU ball helped my game so much. The level of competition was key. Playing against girls who were bigger and stronger than me,” Lops said. “I had to adjust and expand my skillset to succeed.”
Lops’ AAU experience gave her the exposure necessary to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship.
“My recruiting process had slowed. But the AAU exposure got me noticed,” Lops said. “To play NCAA Division I basketball is a welcome test. And Bria Holmes’ AAU made it possible.”
Lops can now turn her full attention to the 2018-2019 Trinity Catholic High School girls basketball campaign. The Crusaders were 8-12 overall and 6-10 in the FCIAC last season. Trinity Catholic graduated only forward Molly Murray from its 10-player roster.
“Having my college decision made has cleared the air. But I will have a bigger target on my back in the FCIAC,” Lops said. “It is a relief to have this entire process done.”